“There’s nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.” – Johann Sebastian Bach

Oh Bach, if only it was that easy.

Sorry to all my followers, its been a while since I have been able to provide an update on m piano journey – life got a little too busy. However, this post I am following up from my previous post. In the last post I felt that my left hand was lagging in skill. So, this post I wanted to focus on finding free content that would help me find exercises to improve my left handed dexterity. I found that a lot of the suggested apps did not have any free content focusing solely on my left hand. I decided to check out the content on YouTube. I did a search on YouTube for ‘left hand piano exercises’ and found quite a bit of content; seems I am not the only one willing to give my right hand to be ambidextrous.

After some scrolling through videos and previewing a couple I chose this video to start my practice. He seemed credible, had 188,000 subscribers, and was still in the mode of uploading piano lesson content. I quickly learned the answer to a question I had lingering from previous learning and that was the starting position of the left hand. He went over C position and G position starting for the left hand. The name of the position is described by the note where your pinky or 5th finger position note is. However, I soon found that his material was above my threshold. I moved on.

I next came to this video that is produced by Pianote. It was referred to as left hand boot camp. Just what I needed. The instructor had us placing our left hand in the C position and she had me playing a C scale, as she advised to, “wake up” my fingers as a warm up. We started slow and then tried to go faster and faster:

C scale left hand

We then moved to D scale. This includes an F sharp played in the third note position (with our ring finer). Again starting slow and moving faster and faster. You can hear the instructor commentating in the background, and I agree the faster I went a bit easier it go; perhaps because I did not have time to think?

D scale – F sharp starting to trick me up

Next the E minor scale which is indicated by having our 5 finger on the E key (pinky finger goes to E ) This one is described as bit more difficult because the F sharp (black key) is now the second note in this exercise. The advised this would help create independence between our 4/ 5 fingers

E minor scale, F sharp tripping me up

Now that we had practiced these three scales C, D, E minor the instructor had me play all three in a staccatto fashion. This means we were strking the keys quickly and promptly, pretending the piano keys were on fire. After staccatto up and down the scale, the instructor added legato form on the way down the scale (fingers 1 to 5) while maintaining a staccato on the way up (5 to 1). Here is one example of staccatto and legato in the scale:

Staccatto and Legato C scale

The last set of exercises in this bootcamp was to play the scales in a rocking fasion. Play fingers 5 -4 repeatedly, then 4-3, 3-2, 2-1, and back, 1-2, 1-3, 1-4 and 1-5. This just increasingly difficult for me when rocking between fingers 5 and 4 on the E minor scale – the F sharp was the second note played by the 4 finger.

E minor rocking scale

This left handed boot camp is just what I needed, heck I probably need it for my right hand as well. I intend to practice this a few more times before my next lesson. I am quickly realizing that I have so much to learn. There is enough content available to learn some basic songs, but to be able to sit down and read even the most basic of songs it such a feat. I have a new found sense of awe for people who have this musical skill/talent.

What do I envision for the next lesson? I am torn between learning a song and learning one or two chords. While I practice my left hand boot camp some more, I’ll spend time reflecting on what might benefit my learning the most.

5 thoughts on ““There’s nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.” – Johann Sebastian Bach”

  1. I think what has been great about this experience is we often forget how much work learning a new skill is. We expect so much from our young students. Breaking it down, like you have, makes it easier to learn properly. Great progression on your piano skills. Have you reached your kids’ skill level yet? Maybe you could perform a duet for us?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. i think its awesome you chose to do piano for your learning project, i would assume it would be quit hard, but through your videos it seems as though you have come sit far and are doing well. its sounding great Frank!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hey Frank!
    I love your use of the cartoon at the beginning. I too have experienced the exact same feeling in learning my instrument for this learning project as well! The amount of time, practice, repetition, and just dedication that going into learning a new instrument is definitely something that is often overlooked until you are actually doing it! You have made some really great progress, keep up the great work! Also, this was an extremely thorough and informative post! You did a really great job of explaining everything you were doing in great detail so it is easily understood, and also sharing videos of your progress!!

    Liked by 1 person

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